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Best Ways to Prepare for Refinancing Your Home Mortgage

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Homeowners can realize significant savings each month when they refinance their mortgage loan to one with a lower interest rate. But how much a homeowner can save depends on the size of the mortgage loan and the amount of interest you can shave off. Before you refinance your home mortgage it’s important to remember refinancing isn’t always simple and it isn’t free. That’s why doing some research before you begin the process so you don’t wind up spending a lot of money to save a little.
Continue reading “Best Ways to Prepare for Refinancing Your Home Mortgage”

With so many expenses these days it’s nice to know homeowners have choices when it comes to borrowing against the equity in their homes. While some will refinance and get cash out with cash-out refinancing, others will take out a home equity loan or line of credit (HELOC). But if you still haven’t refinanced because you don’t know which option is best for you, the following information can help when it comes to distinguishing the differences between these three financing options.
Continue reading “Determining if Cash-out Refinancing is Right for You”

You heard it all over the news through the course of the mortgage meltdown, “Home Values Down 10%…20%”. “Homeowners owe more that their homes are now worth.”

While cities in the Midwest like St. Louis, Kansas City and Indianapolis didn’t get hit as hard as other larger cities, everyone knew someone who lost a home or is struggling to manage bills, in any city.

Enter then, a market that has once in a generation interest rates that should be helping everyone with a mortgage recover financially, but for those who are upside down on their mortgage, they have been left on the outside, looking in leaving them unable to refinance on the basis that they owe more than their home is worth; in other words, they are, “upside down” on their mortgage. Continue reading “Can I Refinance My Home if I Owe More than its Worth?”

With rates that come around once in a generation, everyone is in a rush to try to refinance their mortgage. However, with government regulations burying home owners and mortgage originators with mountains of disclosures, the process can seem daunting. However, here are some tips for you to be ready to make your next refinance as painless as possible.

1.       Have All of Your Documentation Ready….Yes All That Documentation.

File your taxes, get your w2’s, checkstubs and have bank statements ready.  Also in some cases, bankruptcy papers, divorce decrees. Continue reading “5 Tips for a Faster Mortgage Refi”

This is part three of our series on refinancing.

Part One: The Best Reasons to Refinance
Part Two: Is Refinancing Right for You?

With mortgage rates at historic lows, many homeowners are considering refinancing their mortgages, wondering what it will cost. While refinancing fees vary from lender to lender and state to state, it’s not unusual to pay 3% to 6% of your outstanding principal in refinancing fees plus any prepayment penalties or other costs for paying off any mortgages you have. Understanding these fees before you sign refinancing paperwork will make the process easier and go more smoothly and it’s not a bad idea to ask for your settlement cost papers a day in advance of your loan closing to review the documents and verify the terms. The following is a list of fees that will be disclosed on your loan paperwork.

Application Fee

This fee covers the cost of checking your credit report and processing your loan. Even if your loan is denied, you may still have to pay this fee.
Continue reading “The Costs of Refinancing”

This is part two of a three part series on refinancing.

Part One: The Best Reasons to Refinance

With interest rates at all-time lows, many homeowners are considering refinancing their homes. But before you begin the process, it’s important that you determine if refinancing your home is right for your particular financial situation. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Let’s start with examples of when refinancing is not the right thing to do. If you’ve had your mortgage for a long time, refinancing doesn’t always make sense because you’ve already built equity in your home and are close to paying off the loan principal. Continue reading “Is Refinancing Right for You?”

This is part one of a three part series on refinancing. Parts two and three will be linked at the end of this article when they are published.

Interest rates have fallen again and many people are considering refinancing their homes. Before refinancing it’s important that you understand all that refinancing involves, especially since the process is similar to what you went through when you purchased your home. That’s because when you refinance you pay off your existing mortgage and start a new one. Here are some of the most common and best reasons for refinancing.

One of the best reasons to refinance your mortgage is an improved credit score. A better credit score means you may be able to get a lower rate. Your mortgage interest rate directly impacts your monthly payment. With a lower interest rate you can build equity in your home more quickly. For example, let’s say you’re interested in refinancing your existing mortgage which is a 30-year fixed-rate loan of $200,000 at 6.0% with a monthly payment of $1,199. Refinancing with a 30-year fixed rate loan of $200,000 at 5.5% would make your monthly payment $1,136, a savings of $756 over a year’s time and $7,560 over 10 years.
Continue reading “The Best Reasons to Refinance”

A family’s most valuable asset is their home. Many homeowners use a Home Equity Loans or a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) to finance big ticket items like a child’s college education, home improvements and even medical bills. If you are considering a HELOC, you’ll want to take advantage of the best credit terms without subjecting yourself to any undue financial risks since inability to repay the borrowed amount plus interest could cost you your home. Here are some things to consider.

It’s important to understand the difference between a home equity loan and a Home Equity Line of Credit. With a home equity loan a lender agrees to loan a maximum amount for an agreed upon time period (a term) with the borrower’s equity in his or her home as collateral. Equity is the amount of money you would receive after selling your home and paying off the mortgage. Home equity loans provide homeowners a one-time advance with specific monthly payments and a specified time frame for repayment. Home equity loans are a convenient way to borrow money because of flexible terms and competitive rates.
Continue reading “What You Should Know about a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)”

Closing on a home is not something people do every day. Buying a home is one of the biggest investments a person will make in their lifetime. So it’s important to be prepared when you’re finally ready to close. The following tips will help.

Smoother Closing – Having Things Prepared

Before you sign any mortgage loan paperwork, it’s important that you have thoroughly inspected the property you’re buying. It’s better to know your new home needs a new roof before you sign the papers rather than to discover it once the deal is done. In addition to the required home inspection, many experienced homebuyers also make arrangements with the real estate agent and seller to have a trusted friend or repairman take a look at the property for a second opinion about any necessary repairs.
Continue reading “Tips for a Smoother Closing”

You put your home on the market several months ago but your neighbor’s home sold faster than yours. Why? Because they followed their realtor’s advice, making their home “sparkle.” Realtors know that it takes a lot more than a new roof for buyers to feel comfortable buying a home. When buyers see a well-cared for home, they are often correct that what they can’t see is most likely maintained too. So how do you as a homeowner make your home sparkle? Here are some tips for getting your house ready to sell.
Continue reading “Getting Your Home Ready to Sell”

With depressed real estate markets across the country and an often confusing process, purchasing a home is a much scarier prospect than it used to be for first-time home buyers. Knowing the steps to take to get you to your goal is essential. Here is a road map to help you prepare to buy your first home.

When it comes to buying a home it seems like you have to put the tail before the dog. In other words you should figure out how much house you can afford and a lender who will loan you money at an attractive rate with good terms before you go house hunting. Some people are lucky enough to have generous parents or grandparents give them the cash they need for a down payment while others find a seller willing to help them with closing costs. Continue reading “Tips for Buying Your First Home”

Lenders are a lot more cautious these days making buying your first home with bad credit seem like mission impossible. Trouble is circumstances have changed in the past few years with new loan limitations making it harder for people to get loan approval. While there are things you can do to maximize your chances of getting a loan, you should ask yourself some tough questions before investigating loan options.

First, consider if buying a home is good for your financial situation. Owning a home can be a lot of pressure with costs like homeowners insurance, repairs and property taxes many first time homebuyers have not had to pay before. Buying a home is one of the biggest lifetime investments many people will make. So you’ll have to do some soul searching to determine if owning a home is right for you.
Continue reading “Buying Your First Home with Bad Credit”

Effective June 11th 2012, new rules regarding FHA Streamlines will help some borrower refinance into lower rates.

While everyone is well aware of mortgage rates being at all time lows, access to those low mortgage rates remains tight, with credit score minimums,  increasing mortgage insurance premiums and falling home property values.

In the Midwest, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Indianapolis, home values have not been hit as hard, but still, many customers who make their mortgage payments on time have missed out on the benefits of these low rates because of inability to qualify.

Specifically, for those who have a HUD backed mortgage, increasing mortgage insurance premiums have become the largest obstacle to helping borrowers take advantage of lower rates, having gone through numerous premium increases as rates have fallen in recent years.

However, effective June 11th, 2012 some who have paid their FHA mortgage on time will have the opportunity to cheaply save money by lowering their rate, and mortgage insurance premiums(both upfront and monthly)

In order for a borrower to qualify, the following will be needed:

  1. Must have an existing FHA mortgage endorsed prior to May 31st, ,2009.(Endorsed, not closed)
  2.  Mortgage must be paid on time.
  3. May be done without an appraisal.

Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premiums (UFMIP) will be reduced from 1.75% currently being charges to .01%(yes. 01%)

Monthly premiums will be reduced from 1.25% on 30 year mortgages over 95% LTV to .55% on most loans.

So What does that translate to?

About $100 on a $175,000 30 year fixed rate refinance compared to today’s FHA mortgage insurance tables.

Let’s face it, bad credit happens to all of us at one time or another. Whether you’re unemployed, are disabled, sick and cannot work or the victim of credit card fraud or identity theft, falling victim to bad credit is easy. Here are some ways to avoid bad credit.

One of the best ways to avoid bad credit is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Creating a monthly budget before you start developing credit is the ideal way to keep your credit from getting out of hand. By making a list of your monthly income and monthly expenses, you’ll know your spending limitations. Just because a credit card allows you to go out and buy a bunch of stuff right away doesn’t mean that you should. It’s important to put a cap on your spending and stay well below your credit card limit. When you spend close to your credit card’s limit, your credit score goes down. Continue reading “Avoiding Bad Credit”

After closing on a new home, many homeowners know a new house doesn’t feel like home when you first move in. Whether it still smells like the previous owners or it’s bigger than your previous home and the rooms just feel empty, it’s challenging to make your new house feel like home during that first week after the move. Here are some ways to make your new space your own, playing on all your senses.

Scents have powerful effects on us and your favorite smells can play a big role in making you feel more relaxed and at home in the new house. Light candles or incense throughout the rooms. To rid the house of the previous owner’s scent, or the smell of fresh paint, spray Febreze in all the rooms. The goal is to give your new home the same smell and atmosphere as your old one. Continue reading “Making Your New House Feel Like a Home”

Moving creates a lot of anxiety for pets, especially older pets, most cats and skittish pets. That’s why it’s important to do your homework and be prepared. Here are some pre-moving tips for pets that will make your move a smoother transition.

Many subdivisions in the St. Louis area and across the state have various ordinances and pet licensing requirements. Be sure you are familiar with these before you move in. You can familiarize yourself with your new home’s state/province laws by contacting the State Department of Agriculture or the State Veterinarian’s Office. In fact, depending on your new address, your pet may need additional medications, vaccinations or health certificates.
If your pet doesn’t like to travel, be sure to get your vet’s recommendations for behavior modification tactics or medication that can lessen the stress of travel. Your current vet may also be a valuable resource for lining up your pet’s vet in your new home town.
Continue reading “Pre-Moving Day Tips for Pet Owners”

Relocating is challenging and can be especially scary for children. Guiding your child through the experience with patience and knowledge can make your family’s transition into your new home a fun adventure. Your current home may be the only one your child has ever known. Part of your child’s feeling safe in your existing home is his familiarity with the area, his neighborhood friends, the parks, schools and everything around it. From your child’s point of view, these items won’t exist anymore. Understanding your children’s concerns and needs will lessen the stress of the move for you and your family.

It’s important for parents to understand that kids have different concerns at different ages. For preschool children, moving elicits fears of being left behind or separated from their parents. Older kids between the ages of 6 and 12 have concerns about how their daily routines will be impacted. Teenagers worry about what a move will do to their social lives and about fitting in at their new school.
Continue reading “Helping Your Kids Adjust to the Move”

When Tom and Becky started their home search they checked their credit scores first. Tom’s was a respectable 730 and Becky’s was 710. They did their homework too, shopping around for the best interest rate and getting prequalified for a loan before they started going to open houses. A short time later they found the perfect home at the right price.

On the night of their scheduled closing they were ready to sign when their closing officer’s cell phone rang. He handed Tom the phone. Their rate was much higher than Tom expected and the loan couldn’t be approved after all.

It’s a scenario many potential homebuyers fear. And while it is rare, it does happen. It happens when prospective homebuyers go on credit card binges, buying big ticket items for their new home like furniture, paint and appliances once their loans are approved.
Continue reading “Loan Closing Tips: What Not to Do”

Home is the stage for many of life’s most treasured memories. The front porch is where your husband carried you over the threshold. The living room floor is where your son took his first steps. The weeping willow tree in the back yard is where your daughter posed on her graduation day. Put it all together and it’s easy to see how our homes are literally a member of the family. And when it comes to downsizing, it’s also easy to see how emotionally attached we’ve grown to our homes. Selling our homes is like putting our hearts on a plate and crushing it, especially when potential buyers criticize. But it’s all part of the game. The game of buying and selling houses that is. Buyers want to get the lowest price and sellers want to get the highest price, leaving real estate agents the challenge of getting both parties to meet somewhere in the middle. Emotions can get in the way and prevent home sellers from making good financial decisions. Here are some tips to help home sellers from making costly emotional mistakes.
Continue reading “3 Most Common Mistakes When Selling Your Home”